Thursday, December 6, 2012

Little Lincoln

Here is a small graphite pencil portrait I finished recently. This little guy was just so very busy, and talkative, and undeniably cute! I basically trotted around after him with my camera as he ran around his grandparents' yard, dealing with dogs, dirt, toys, tools, and snacks, all the while providing a running commentary on the whole thing. What energy! He did slow down enough for me get some good reference shots, though, and I think the drawing shows his sparkling personality.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sunny Work In Progress on a Cloudy Day

Wintry weather is in the forecast on this gray Maine day, but the still life I am working on is warm and sunny.

This is one of those pieces where I really am enjoying all of the contrasts and connections going on.

The very orderly arrangement of stacked plates and perfectly centered tomato is overlaid by the odd angles and indistinct shapes of the cast shadows. The soft, fleshy tomato appears even more ripe in contrast with the cool, hard ceramic surfaces. And, of course, it's hard to miss the hot reds versus cool blues!

The bottom plate's geometric details seem to reach out and connect with the linear shadows, while the little top plate's design mimics and surrounds the tomato's contours. And then there's the middle plate: its slightly sculptural texture hinting at those lobular shapes on the tomato, as the fence, earth and clouds illustrate quite literally where it was very recently growing.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Published! Grace's Alpaca Hat In Strokes Of Genius 4

Strokes of Genius 4 The Best of Drawing - Exploring Line is now on the shelves of bookstores everywhere, and on Amazon. I am excited that my colored pencil portrait, Grace's Alpaca Hat, was selected for publication in this book, and can finally be seen on its pages! The portrait of my niece, Grace, was completed in October of 2010, entered in the competition and selected in the spring and summer of 2011, and now published in October of 2012. I saw Grace recently, and we were trying to determine how many drastic changes in hairstyle and color have happened since this portrait was done... I lost count!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Art Exhibits & New Work

 It looks like art exhibit season is here, with all of the framing, delivering, shipping, printing of cards, and hanging that goes with it. I am pleased to have my work juried into three upcoming shows so far.

Tomorrow is the opening reception of the Art Is Community III juried regional show at the Old White Church in Bar Mills, Maine. Three of my still life pieces are hanging in this very special, local show.

On Monday, I will be shipping my September Still Life On Moss to the 20th Annual CPSA International Exhibition, at the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington, Kentucky. This is my third year in a row being accepted into this show, which means I'll achieve signature status. Very excited about that!

Then, in another week, I'll deliver two pieces to the juried show of the New England Chapter of CPSA, at the Sharon Arts Center in New Hampshire.

The still life shown here (as yet untitled) is in the process of being varnished, and will be framed very soon for entry into yet another local juried show. I love the calm feeling of this piece... everything worn, and pale, and comfortable. The bottles were actually found under the floor of a good friend's barn, many years ago, by our boys. They were just doing what boys do: burrowing in the dirt, and finding treasures. They are almost sanded to a frosted surface, like sea glass. The shells, too, have that rough-tumbled quality, worn away, showing their layers, or encrusted with limpets. I'm counting on these charming qualities to help me come up with a suitable title. But, right now, I'm off to help prepare the exhibit space for tomorrow's opening!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

September Still Life On Moss

Back in September, as my garden overflowed with beautiful still life possibilities, I took a few days to set up and photograph some unusual groupings, for future inspiration and reference. This was drawn from one of my favorite creations from that project. And, yes, I consider the gathering of objects and placing them together in various ways a creation in its own right. It's amazing how much trial and error, arranging and rearranging, tweaking and nudging, and toting things from place to place it takes to come up with a good still life composition!

I wanted to use the bright peppers and large, almost ripe, heirloom tomato in this modern art-glass bowl, with a snip of turning Virginia creeper vine as a "garnish" of sorts, over the top. I set it all up on vintage linen tablecloths... a white, a turquoise, and a swirly print, then on an old wooden chair with peeling paint, then a granite step. I tried it in the garden, among the growing plants, on a huge tree stump, and, finally, right on the ground in a mossy area strewn with maple seeds and dry leaves. I found it enchanting. Really. Like fairyland enchanting. Once I saw how the dappled light worked its magic with the glass and the shadows and the cushiony green carpet, I was powerless to do anything but draw this lovely little moment in time. That is how this particular still life came to be. And after many, many hours of work, we all lived happily ever after. The End

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Three Sisters In Graphite Pencil

I recently delivered these commissioned pencil portraits, of three completely charming and lovely girls. Drawing siblings is always interesting, because as I work I notice the features and expressions that may be similar to each other.

Another thing that is unique to a set of portraits such as these, that will be hung together on one wall, is making sure that they look comfortable together. The way I accomplish this is to make sure they are each lit from the same direction when I take my reference photos, and choose poses that create a feeling of unity.

My plan with these three was to place this one in the center, with the other two sisters each facing toward her. Once they were matted and framed (beautifully, thank you Sylvie!), they did indeed make a very nice group!

(each 9x12", graphite pencil on bristol)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Strawberry Shadow Play

This sunny still life will be featured in an article which will appear in a summer issue of the Daniel Smith Artist's Materials catalog, and also on the Ampersand Company website. The nice people at Ampersand asked me to do this after seeing my prizewinning piece in the Artist's Magazine, and I was very excited to accept. (Ampersand makes the Pastelbord that I have used for almost all of my colored pencil paintings.) Included in the article are some photos showing the drawing at different stages, along with information about my process, and some thoughts about my work.

To coincide with the catalog's season, I pretended it was summer here in chilly Maine, and set up the strawberries, old blue glass saucer, and a favorite tiny yellow pitcher out on the sun porch. That was when those great shadows introduced themselves to the composition. I really like how they formed a kind of sunburst shape on the little pitcher!

I will post an alert when the article has ben published, but for now, here is Strawberry Shadow Play.

(12x9", colored pencil on Pastelbord)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Portrait of Audrey

This little portrait of my grand-daughter was a long time coming.

First, it took a long time to get some good photo reference, even though I had taken plenty of pictures of her every time we were together. The thing is, I have some criteria for my portraits. I want the pose and facial expression to be relaxed, calm, and contented... as if the subject sat comfortably with me as I worked on their portrait. (Even though I actually use my photos for reference.) My feeling is that the resulting portrait is one that will be enjoyed with that same contentedness by its viewers.

But, whenever Audrey spied the camera, she would make a funny face. So, although we had a lot of fun, those needed reference photos eluded me for months. I finally got some I liked, and began drawing... oh, back in August, I think. I finished it just in time to give to my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas. Granted, there was a lot going on in my life during that time, but still, that is a long time for a little portrait. I keep comparing it in my mind to a slow-cooked meal. I suppose it's o.k. to be a crock-pot once in a while. Who knows, maybe I'll be a pressure cooker one day!

(6x9", colored pencil on Pastelbord)